Bullying is an issue that deeply impacts school-age children and their families. You may start to see some of the signs in your child, and you know something just isn’t right, but you can’t pinpoint the cause. Nataxja Cini, MSW, RSW is a highly regarded psychotherapist at Family-Therapy in Ottawa, and she wants to reassure you that you aren’t alone. With her extensive experience and compassionate approach, Nataxja sheds light on the complexities of bullying and provides valuable guidance for parents and caregivers.
What are some of the different types of bullying?
Bullying can manifest in various forms. Nataxja says some examples include verbal taunts, social exclusion, cyberbullying through digital platforms, physical aggression, and even relational aggression. Each form can have lasting emotional effects on children, making it crucial for you to address bullying if this happens to your child or youth. It may require the expertise of a professional pscyhotherapist and child therapist in Ottawa to help you and your child deal with the mental and emotional struggles that long term bullying can cause.
What are some warning signs of bullying that parents should look out for?
Nataxja stresses that it’s important for parents to watch for changes in their child’s behaviour. Some signs to keep an eye out for are sudden withdrawal, avoiding social situations, increase in tummy aches or illness to avoid going to school, unexplained injuries, missing or damaged personal belongings, changes in sleep patterns, or a decline in academic performance. If your child becomes reluctant to attend school or shows signs of anxiety or depression, these could be indicators that your child is being bullied.
How should you talk to your child about bullying?
Open and honest communication is key. Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable sharing their experiences. Ask specific questions about their day, friends, and any challenges they may be facing. It is important to listen to your child without jumping to conclusions or blaming. Nataxja also encourages parents to actively discuss bullying with your children so your child knows that they can come discuss bullying with you. Actively talking about bullying before it happens teaches your children that they can come and talk about bullying with you. You can also discuss how your child can intervene if they see another student being bullied. Nataxja encourages parents to take all forms of bullying seriously. Ask your child if they have experienced being bullied or witnessed bullies on the school bus, in gym class, at recess or on their sports teams or after school activities? Let your child know they have your support if they report being bullied. Help your child learn the difference between teasing and bullying.
How can your child’s school help with bullying?
Parents need to get actively involved with their children’s schools to ensure they have strict anti-bullying policies and procedures in place. Encourage your school counsel and parents involvement committee to ensure teachers and staff receive ongoing training to recognize and address bullying effectively. Talk with your school principal and other parents to ensure your school has bullying support programs, there are in class discussions engaging students in activities that help encourage empathy and explore diversity and that there are regular anti bullying activities and education programs throughout the school year. Regular communication between parents and teachers are important tools to curb bullying. Encouraging a culture of empathy, kindness, and inclusion within the school fosters an environment where bullying is less likely to thrive. Creating an environment that prevents bullying is an ongoing project that happens over many years and isn’t just a onetime conversation.
How can you support your child who is being bullied?
First and foremost, reassure your child that they are not alone and that you are there to support them. Listen to your child to hear what has happened and how they have experienced. Remember your child probably has endured this for quite a while before telling you they are being bullied. Ask your child about their feelings and let them know you support them. Let your child know they do not have to tolerate being bullied. As much as you can, keep track of any incidents of bullying, including dates, times, who was involved, and descriptions. Engage with the school to address the issue collaboratively. Focus on building your child’s resilience and self-esteem through activities they enjoy and connections with positive peers.
How can you help your child overcome bullying?
According to Nataxja, building resilience involves teaching your child coping skills and helping them understand that their worth has nothing to do with the opinions of bullies. Encourage them to explore their strengths and interests and to make friends with those who value them. Engage in activities that promote your child’s self-confidence and emotional well-being, such as art, sports, or mindfulness practices. If your child continues to struggle, you may want to find a professional child or youth therapist they can talk to with experience in child counselling in Ottawa.
Stopping bullying at school requires a collaborative effort between parents, schools, and the community. Nataxja Cini’s expertise highlights the importance of open dialogue, proactive measures, and fostering resilience in children. By embracing a compassionate and professional approach, we can create an environment where every child feels safe, valued, and empowered to overcome the challenges of bullying.